By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
An elderly woman injured in an attack at her home in December died Sunday afternoon. Following the results of her autopsy the case has been reclassified as a homicide, and her alleged attacker could potentially face a murder charge.
Authorities received the preliminary autopsy findings for 87 year-old Helen Mayo late Monday evening, which found that her death was caused by injuries from the attack. Mayo was attacked in her home near Cullman High School in early December, and died at UAB Hospital Sunday afternoon. After being admitted in the wake of the assault, she spent the final month of her life being treated for severe facial injuries.
Just days after the attack took place, police arrested Emmett L. Davis, 52, of Arab and charged him with first degree assault in the case. Authorities say Davis knew the victim and had done some maintenance work for her in the past.
Cullman Police Assistant Chief Craig Green said investigators will now work with the Cullman County District Attorney’s Office to determine if Davis could face further charges.
“Essentially they have to make sure she didn’t already have an underlying illness, as the autopsy will show if it was an existing health issue, or if the cause stemmed from the attack,” Green said. “We are currently working with the district attorney’s office on the proper criminal charges.”
The final autopsy report could take several months to be completed, but Green said investigators believe they have enough information from the preliminary assessment to move forward with additional charges on Davis.
Green offered his condolences to Mayo’s family and friends, and promised the department would do everything within its power to ensure the alleged suspect is punished to the fullest extent of the law.
“The entire police department is praying for the family of Ms. Mayo and those who lived around her and knew her,” he said. “We understand it is difficult, but we’re doing all we can to make sure the person who committed this crime is in jail where they need to be. We’ll do whatever we can to support the community and her neighborhood. Their loss is on our mind.”
Davis is still being held at the Cullman County Detention Center.
Funeral services for Mayo will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, at Moss-Service Funeral Home Chapel, in Cullman, with visitation from noon to 2 p.m. Click here for full obituary.
Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.